Mon. Oct 19th, 2020

Modern life is filled with so many blessings and many of those blessings put things or people at our finger-tips with the touch of a button. We can get a map loaded to our phone while we are driving to the desired destination. We can text or email people anywhere in the world. We can download programs, documents or drivers to our computers in just a few moments. Our existence has become very convenient.
But, I think this convenience comes at a cost. I think we have become pretty impatient people because everything we desire is almost immediately fulfilled. If we aren’t careful we can forget how to delay gratification. Students and athletes have to delay gratification. A student has to work now by taking notes, reading and studying, so that at a later time they can achieve a desired goal. Athletes have to work out in the offseason in order to succeed. But it seems to me that this ability is waning in our culture. Most especially it is waning in the spiritual life.
Consider the parable in Matthew 13. A man discovers a treasure buried in a field. He has to re-bury the treasure, then go sell everything he owns so that he will have enough to buy the field. So as disciples of Jesus we first have to realize that the treasure is worth more than all we own (maybe a reflection on this in the future). But once the treasure is recognized the man has to do a lot of work and really put himself “out there” before he can receive the benefits of the treasure. He has to trade his bird on the hand for the two in the bush. He then has many tasks to do in order to succeed.
Isn’t that true in our spiritual life? We have to recognize the treasure that is discipleship in Jesus Christ. Then we have to start working for that Kingdom. Living in Christ brings peace and blessing, but it also requires us to wait in hope for the fulfillment of that Kingdom, and waiting is something that we are becoming less capable of doing.
Maybe over the next couple of weeks we can practice patience. Maybe we can practice delaying gratification, just for the sake of teaching ourselves how to wait.
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at
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